by Gary 'Z' McGee
Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned
philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and
The Looking Glass Man.
works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages
and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
Those Who Say Yes, Those Who Say No
greater the obstacle,
the more glory
in overcoming it."
Realize, here at the outset:
the only reason 'the
gods' exist in the second place is because our fear
of death exists in the first place...
This understanding is
crucial toward making your "coup stick" robust enough to count coup
on the gods.
When it comes down to it,
our death anxiety is the bedrock of our vanity, our fallibility, our
imperfections, our hypocrisies, and our stress.
It's no wonder that the
gods are so vain, fallible, imperfect, hypocritical, and anxious.
They were created in our image, after all, and they can just as
easily be destroyed.
So, the first way to
count coup on the gods is to count coup on yourself...
Count Coup on
you are on the
if it is your
Counting coup is a Native American act of courage referring to the
winning of prestige in battle through the social leveling mechanism
A coup warrior
is a person who wins prestige by uncommon acts of bravery in the
face of fear...
Danger and risk are
required to count coup and it is recorded by touching (shaming) an
enemy with a
coup stick in battle and then
A coup stick can be
Counting coup is a metaphor for
dangerously and humorously shocking the self and your fellow man
into wakefulness by questioning things to the nth degree.
It's a way of
sneaking up on
your ego, on your fears and
certainties, and giving them a little smack with your coup
When you're counting coup
on yourself, you're counting coup on that which is unhealthy and
fearful within you.
You're counting coup on that which is rigid and
dogmatic in your worldview.
When you count coup
on fear, sloth, narcissism and extremism, you do it so that
vitality, courageous action, and diversity might emerge.
You do it so that you
can, like Thoreau said,
The revolution begins at
If you count coup on
yourself again and again, you might earn the right to count coup on
the rest of us.
Indeed, with enough
practice you might even earn the right to count coup on the 'gods'
a vessel to be
but a fire to be
"The gods" can be,
that has power over you....
It can be as simple as
It can be as sinister as
The Powers That Be.
It can be as
existential as mortality itself.
Or it can literally be any god or
God that we have created in our extensive mythology as a species.
But power can always be tapped.
It can always be
always be stolen.
The gods may have power, but they do not own it.
It's your job to understand this and then flip the script.
Stealing fire from the gods is drawing upon power itself despite
those who lay claim to it.
It's the profound
realization that the power you don't have can only be earned through
blood sweat and tears, and any power that others have is always
vulnerable no matter how invulnerable it might seem.
Power is always ripe for the plucking, you need only the
"I would rather be
chained to this rock, than be the obedient servant of the gods."
Stealing power from the
gods is also a metaphor for discovery within deep mystery (between
worlds), and then it's the audacity to bring that discovery back to
the "tribe" in the form of magic elixir.
Stealing fire from the gods is having the boldness to crash through
the gates of the Creative Gatekeepers and to take a dive into the
Meta-masterpiece of the human condition.
Then it's the ability to
"swim," to discover the Flow State in the undertow, to become the
conduit for High Art, to tap the fountainhead.
It's the courage to
creatively lash out, to stretch the comfort zone so far that it
subsumes the metaparadigm of Art itself.
Speak Truth to
who stopped lying
could bring down
Speaking truth to power,
is making a declaration of interdependence
in the face of codependent power constructs.
It's counting coup on
strategic (nonviolent) civil disobedience, especially when it
The Powers That Be
It's becoming a
social leveling mechanism par excellence.
Lest you give into the
corruption that arises from entrenched power, you must remain a
self-empowered individual seeking self-mastery through sound
leadership, rather than a self-inured individual blindly following a
chain of obedience.
As Albert Camus suggested,
"It is the job of
thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners."
But then you must go
beyond and teach others (the docile and complacent) how not to be on
the side of the executioners.
All you need is courage and hope.
Courage to speak for
a healthy world, and hope that people will choose to be healthy.
But courage must come
Having a backbone is
leading by robust and healthy example despite the weak and
Then it's going one step
further and teaching the crowd how to be strong and healthy by
showing them how to stop wearing their wishbone where their backbone
valuable human being
must be a
radical and a rebel,
for what he must
is to make
than they are."
The unity of opposites is a powerful way to count coup on
For if the gods are
symbolic for anything, they are symbolic for the disparity of power.
Balancing one power with an opposite power has always been more
powerful than one-dimensional power.
Uniting summit with abyss is uniting light with darkness.
demons into diamonds.
yokes into halos and mortal coils into crowns.
It's dragging heaven
It's lifting hell into heaven.
It's the vital
ability to transform disordered order into higher order through
It's the unapologetic
realization that you may need to sow a little strategic disorder
to reap a higher order.
The higher order is
Even if that means
the current order must be sacrificed.
Even if that means
discomfort must be suffered.
Even if that means -
especially if that means - someone's beliefs must be destroyed
in the process.
As P.C. Hodgell
"that which can be
destroyed by the truth should be."
The unity of summit and
abyss is the ultimate rebellion, the existential rebellion, the
It's your rebel soul, in cahoots with your
shadow, flexing through the culture's lack of soul.
It's healthy upheaval for
the sake of making things better than they are, and for discovering
a healthier way of being human in the world.
Remember - The
Pen will always be Mightier than the Sword
too timid and squeamish
all life is an
experiments you make
Once you have successfully threshed the chaff (unhealthy/useless)
from the grain (healthy/useful), you are free to unleash your
From swords to
plowshares, your Sword of Truth becomes a Pen of Truth.
You are free to
create high art - art that shatters molds, stretches comfort
zones, and initiates wake up calls.
You become free to
prove why the pen will always be mightier than the sword.
From this state, you are free to re-condition cultural
You take destiny into
your own hands.
Amor fati (love of
fate) becomes fuel for the fire for a life well-lived.
Fear-filled blue pills
are swapped out for wisdom-filled red pills as you creatively and
imaginatively crush out.
You are free to write
your own story despite all the other stories crashing into each
other on the superhighway of the human leitmotif.
You rise above merely
being a victim by proactively becoming a creator.
heartache into heartiness.
lodestones into whetstones into Philosopher's Stones.
You tap the Mecca by
going Meta over Alpha and Beta.
You fly above the
petty placations of gods begetting gods as you fly straight into
becoming a god of your own...